Archive for the Stock Photography Category

Hidden Gems of 2010

Posted in Art of Photography, Artistic Development, Inspirations, Stock Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2010 by Darwin

For me, 2010 was an interesting year. Stock sales continued to decline and the recession hit many photographers hard. Fortunately for me, this past year was the best year I have ever had financially because I diversified my income. I make my income from three main sources; stock photo sales (direct and through agencies), teaching (workshops, seminars and tours), and assignment (writing and photography commission work). Each contributes about 30-35% to the overall income.

The major investment I made this year to the business side of photography cost me a lot in personal creative growth. I simply had very little time to make photos. I only got out to shoot about 25% of the time and with so little time to devote to the art of photography, the creativity hit a bit of a road block.

So for 2011, I plan to achieve a better balance of business and creativity. When I look back at the 1300 ‘keepers’ I created in 2010 I was not overly impressed with what I saw. But I did make a few images I liked which I shared in my Weekly Photos and in my Daily Snaps.

Below are 10 images which are a little more subtle but that continue to please me even after looking at them for a long time.

 

©Darwin Wiggett - Canon G11

©Darwin Wiggett - Canon 1ds Mark III, Sigma 120-400

©Darwin Wiggett - Canon 1ds Mark III Sigma 120-400mm

©Darwin Wiggett - Canon 1ds Mark III, Sigma 120-400mm

©Darwin Wiggett - Canon 1ds Mark III, Sigma 120-400mm

©Darwin Wiggett - Canon G11

©Darwin Wiggett - Canon Rebel T2i, Sigma 17-50mm

©Darwin Wiggett - Canon Rebel T2i, Sigma 17-50mm

©Darwin Wiggett - Canon Rebel T2i, Sigma 120-400mm

©Darwin Wiggett - Canon G11

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Photographer of the Month – Daryl Benson

Posted in Art of Photography, Artistic Development, Good News, Inspirations, Photographer of the Month, Stock Photography, TCBlog with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2010 by Darwin

When I first got started in photography back in 1986, I recall two major influences on my development as a photographer. The first was a book called Photography of Natural Things by Freeman Patterson which was essentially the kick start to my interest in photography. At the time I was doing my master’s thesis in zoology (on the behavioural ecology of Columbian ground squirrels) and I needed to learn how to make photos so that I could give slide shows to get grants to fund my research. Freeman’s book was not only my ‘how to’ guide to learn photography, but it also ended up being so much more. I saw that photography could be used for more than simple documentation; photography could be used for personal expression – very cool!

I was hooked on photography after reading Freeman’s book, so I decided to join a camera club to learn more. In September of 1986, I  joined Images Alberta Camera Club in Edmonton, Alberta. And this is where the second major influence on my photography entered my life. At the first meeting I saw a slide show by Daryl Benson. I was blown away! Not only did Daryl show amazing images but his work was so unique, expressive and refreshing – wow! I could barely sleep that night! Daryl’s images filled my head and my dreams. And so Daryl became my mentor, whether he liked it or not!

At the time Daryl was just freshly accepted into the stock agency, Masterfile, and was well on his way to becoming a full time photographer. For the next few years, Daryl and I went on numerous trips together and I learned from watching Daryl at work. At first I tried to emulate Daryl:  I tried to make images that were like Daryl’s. Of course I failed miserably. No one can be Daryl except Daryl himself. It was a hard lesson to learn. After some time I finally learned  that each photographer must find his or her own voice and be true to that voice by shooting for him or herself and not to shoot to please others or to emulate others.

I was recently reminded of Daryl’s amazing talent as a visual artist as I watched his recent presentations at FotoExpo in Moncton, New Brunswick. Daryl is and has always been the consummate artist who is driven by ‘voices in his head ‘and ‘tugs at his lapels’ that force him to create his unique imagery that is unlike anything that anyone else creates. In my opinion, Daryl is Canada’s most creative photographic visual artist. His ‘works’ always inspires, amazes and humbles me. For those who have not seen Daryl’s website, his books or attended his inspirational presentations, I highly recommend all of them, anytime. Period. Thanks, Daryl for all you have done to help grow the photographic community in Canada and beyond.  I would also like to thank you on a personal level:  I am indebted to you for your patience, sharing and mentorship. To learn more about Daryl see this interview.

 

©Daryl Benson

©Daryl Benson

 

©Daryl Benson

©Daryl Benson

©Daryl Benson

©Daryl Benson

©Daryl Benson

©Daryl Benson

©Daryl Benson

©Daryl Benson

 

The Daily Snap – October 12

Posted in Stock Photography, Techniques, The Daily Snap with tags , , , , , , , on October 12, 2010 by Darwin

©Darwin Wiggett

I often grab snapshots of clouds because surprisingly they seem to sell well in stock photography. Often I will make a mirrored image of the cloud by copying the image on itself, flipping the image and butting the two images together to give a mirrored representation. This one look like wings.

The End of Stock Photography?

Posted in Articles about Photography, Controversy, Marketing, Sad News, Stock Photography with tags , , , , on March 6, 2010 by Darwin

Check out this interview with Jim Pickerell at John Lund’s excellent blog on Stock Photography. Bookmark John’s Blog or subscribe, it is an amazing source of information for those of us involved in stock photography. Hmmm… the end of Stock as a photographic career?? Damn! I am headed the the Golden Arches to see if they need french fry salter.

Thanks to Keith Douglas for the heads up on John Lund’s blog.

©Darwin Wiggett

 

So you Wanna be a Professional Outdoor, Nature, or Travel Photographer

Posted in Articles about Photography, Books about Photography, Marketing, Stock Photography, Techniques with tags , , , , , , on March 5, 2010 by Darwin

Almost everyday I get an email from someone who totally loves to take pictures but who totally hates their current job–sound familiar? They all want to know how they can make the jump from enthusiast to pro. They want to live the dream of being a nature, outdoor, or travel photographer and they email me for advice on how to do it. The problem is there is no easy answer, nor is there a ‘correct’ path. I can’t answer their question in a short email; I would need to write a book about how to become an outdoor, nature or travel photographer. And actually I am probably not very qualified to answer–I kinda just fumble my way along and so far things have worked out. 

Fortunately, I know someone who is a passionate photographer, a great business man, and a wonderful teacher. David Duchemin has written a book which has become the bible for those longing to turn their passion into a profession. If you have ever considered making the leap to full-time pro, or if you’re a pro but your business is suffering you owe it to yourself to read, digest, and put into practice all the great advice, philosophy and tips that David has packed into Visionmongers: Making a Life and Living in Photography. There is no other book like it and of all the “How to Make a Million Dollars in Photography” books out there, this is the one that really gets to the heart of the matter and really forces you to ask yourself, “Is this the path I want to take?”. This industry is tough, and the dream can be fulfilled, but realize what you think its like being a photographer is really different the reality of it. David makes you acutely aware of the differences. Highly recommended.  

Visionmongers by David Duchemin

Another resource that is full of great business ideas is from the No BS Photo Success team. These guys (Rob and James) have amazing ideas on how to make a portrait, wedding, and commercial photo studio succeed. Wait a minute, you think, I am a nature photographer, why the hell listen to these guys??? Not only are these guys fun and engaging, their ideas are applicable to any type of photography, it is all about marketing and marketing is what gets you business and buys you pizza and beer (yum, yum!). Smart photographers get ideas from others outside their speciality to make their businesses unique. So, if you live near Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon,  or Toronto go see these guys during their No BS Photo Success Cross-Canada Road Show April 2010. Highly Recommended! 

 

A brand new resource that is jam-packed with good information is Pro Nature Photographer – check it out, I am sure you’ll get some good tips here on how to run your business. Looking forward to continued informative stuff from this website. 

 

Here are a few more resources you might want to check out: 

Jim Pickerell’s Photo Licensing Options site

Dan Heller’s Business of Photography Blog

How to Go Pro – Ken Rockwell 

Taking the Plunge: Making the Transition to Pro Photographer – Samantha Chrysanthou 

The Stock Agent: Should You Seek One? – Charlie Borland (Part One, Part Two, Part Three

If anyone has other resources that have been helpful please email me and I will add them to this list. 

Good luck with your dreams! 

©Darwin Wiggett

Rant – Free Stock Photos

Posted in Controversy, Rants, Stock Photography with tags , , on May 23, 2009 by Darwin

One of the big pieces of news this week in the stock photography industry is the announcement by Fotolia, a micropayment stock photo site, of free downloadable stock photography. They have branded their free stock site as PhotoXpress where registered users can download as many as 10 free images a day. Fotolia hopes to bait new users into using stock photography by offering free photos. The move will likely also drive traffic from competing microstock sites. More and more web users expect to be able to download free music, videos, and pictures. Many companies are meeting this expectation and are now offering free stuff to drive traffic to their sites where they hope they might hook customers to buy ‘higher end’ products, in this one, two or three dollar images.

Now you might suspect that as a stock photographer myself I would be outraged by this business practice. I am not. I can totally understand the Cocaine Tactics used here (give em free photos, get ’em hooked’ on the idea of using photos and hopefully they will become addicted and start paying for their habit). Is this idea good for photographers? Probably not. But neither is access to free music downloads or file sharing and most photographers I know are happy to take free music and other goodies off the web (legally and illegally) yet complain that agencies are giving away their photos for free! I guess musicians don’t deserve royalties but photographers do?

When this story broke on PDN the comments from photographers were predictable – see here. Almost all the photographers were outraged, but guess where they directed their outrage – to wanna be’s. Most pro stock photographers blame amateur, part-time, newbie photographers for all the ills of the industry. The pros curse these ‘low life scums’ for taking money out of their pockets. The solution according to many pros is to ‘educate’ the wanna be’s so these newbie’s don’t give away their photos for free. What a Utopian and naive notion! That somehow human behaviour can be regulated, that in a free market you can get everybody to agree on a minimum price, or that there won’t be somebody willing to sell their stuff for less than the next person. C’mon, really?

The old school of stock pros long for the days of film, large license fees per image, and a healthy monthly royalty payment (totally understandable, I wanna go back myself!). The fact is the world has changed. The good old boys are looking for someone to blame for their dropping stock sales and the easy target is the weekend warrior. The old business models in stock are forever gone, either you change, adapt and innovate yourself or you watch your income die each month. Lamenting the old model and blaming the wanna-be’s is a waste of time IMO. There is still money to be made in photography, you just gotta be open to new ideas, new revenue streams and creative innovation.

As far as microstock goes, most small business owners I know regularly buy images from places like Fotolia and iStockphoto. Hell, if I did not make my own photos, I would get stuff from these sources as well! Offering up free photos likely will get customers who never bought stock before to test out the market. As a business move, I think value added services like a line of free photos is a move more and more stock agencies will adopt. As a photographer, you can decide if you want to be part of this movement, or go off on your own tangent. The wanna be’s are not responsible for either your success or your failure, you are. So stop moaning and move on, rethink your business!

Image supplied free from PhotoXpress

Image supplied free from PhotoXpress